Mary looks for a solution to be able to feed the people of France. Francis is haunted by suspicions about his dead father’s ghost. Catherine plans an extravagant coronation ceremony.
In Reign‘s third episode, “Coronation,” Catherine is throwing one hell of a party for Francis’ coronation, despite the kingdom being practically broke. Her reasoning for this is sound, but so are Mary’s protests — after all, how are they going to protect their people by putting on a strong face around the vultures swarming the ceremony if they bankrupt themselves in the process? Catherine also takes the opportunity to rub in Mary’s face that she’s supposed to be playing the part of the docile puppet queen, so Lord Narcisse will continue to think he’s got the upper hand. It’s pretty much the queenly version of “talk to the hand cause the face ain’t listening.”
While walking around the tent city, Greer and Mary stumble upon Louis Conde, who seems to have moved on pretty quickly after deciding to stay in court and abandon his lady love to Amsterdam. Greer and Mary judge him, quite hilariously. They also notice the woman he’s consorting with is a courtesan, and that she has mismatched eye colors.
Throughout the episode, Catherine and Narcisse have a few snippy conversations, one where Narcisse tries to talk down to Catherine (how dare he call her irrelevant), one where Catherine offers an alliance to get Narcisse to shut the hell up and stop antagonizing her son, and lastly, where Narcisse calls Catherine out on getting a shipment of grain delivered to some random town, along with churches built and wells dug in other villages. Catherine is ensuring she has love and protection from the people, once Mary and Francis finally have their baby. Cue raunchy sex scene set to loud moaning music!
Turns out Francis was so freaked out by the nanny’s possession last episode that he fired her. Lola is confused by his actions, even more so when he refuses to explain why.
Francis, searching for a non-supernatural reason for what happened, had Bash investigate the nanny and Lord Montgomery, the knight who supposedly killed King Henry at the joust last season, but there’s no connection there. C’mon, Francis, just accept it: your daddy’s now a vengeful ghost.
Francis’ guards have found the nanny staying at a nearby village and bring her to him. He takes her to a supposed psychic in the tent city outside the castle, where the woman is once again possessed by King Henry. The scene is mildly terrifying, and the confused speech Henry gives as he realizes what his son has done is kinda awesome.
Meanwhile, after Francis officially and publicly claimed Lola’s baby as his own last episode, Lola has been granted lands, a chateau, and a shiny new title for her baby boy. Kenna is happy for her friend but a little envious of her new home; Bash and Kenna’s house was burned in the aftermath of the plague.
At the party, Bash is pulled away from Kenna by a woman who claims her husband has been killed by a baron (surprise surprise, he totally was). Kenna is left to talk with one of the noble wives, one of the few from earlier who wasn’t bragging about their extravagant homes at poor Kenna’s expense. She offers Kenna help in getting property. I am immediately suspicious, because no one at court is just randomly nice like that.
My suspicious prove correct when it turns out that nice noble lady is wife to the baron that Bash is investigating. Their “gift” is actually a bribe. Pissed, Kenna confronts the noble wife, who tells her that she and Bash are hanging by a thin thread already, and if they don’t curry favor with the nobles they might find themselves dead. To protect him, Kenna disposes of Bash’s evidence.
Gimme Gimme Grain
Even though Narcisse and Francis came to an agreement, Narcisse is still withholding grain to punish Mary and exert his power. During the party preparations, a peasant is killed for trying to steal food to feed his family, which enrages Mary further. She is determined to get enough food to save her people. Francis might have found a solution by getting grain from one of the other nobles, but the man is nervous about what Narcisse would do when he finds out. This is a good thing to be worried about, because in the night, Narcisse kidnaps the noble’s young son and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t go back on his deal with Francis.
A German duke approaches Mary at the party and asks for the release of Protestant prisoners, jailed by King Henry for their religion. He even offers her grain in return. Francis, however, is worried that a deal with a Protestant will anger all the French nobles. When Francis’ deal with the French noble sours, though, they don’t have any other choice – Francis decides to investigate the men that the duke wants released, and in two days’ time, will release them.
The duke is impatient and insulted that Francis doesn’t trust his word and threatens to leave if the men aren’t released immediately. Mary makes a snap decision and releases the prisoners. When Francis hears he’s infuriated that Mary acted on his behalf without his knowledge. “I am a new King trying to fill the shoes of a man they feared. I don’t need their fear, but I need their respect.” Okay, dude, but while you were off being freaked out by ghosts, Mary was actually trying to get shit done, so I’m definitely Team Mary here.
Later, Mary and Francis are again approached by the German duke, who angrily tells them that the Protestant prisoners have disappeared, and that they have found evidence of torture in the garrison. Tensions escalate, until Francis manages to talk them down. Mary figures out that the prisoners were taken by Lord Conde, so he could barter the release of his lady love, whose ship was commandeered by Germans en route to Amsterdam. Mary asks him to return the prisoners… and he does, because he’s fantastic and I love him. Mary and Francis’ smug little faces when they tell Narcisse his grain is no longer needed are amazing, especially when he’s forced to give them the grain anyway.
Francis and Mary get through their coronation ceremony and are officially King and Queen of France.
Reign airs Thursday nights on The CW.
Mary: It’s not just poor taste, it’s grotesque, unafforable and shameful!
Catherine: Excellent. That’s precisely the effect I was aiming for. Your coronation is not about affordability, it’s about survival. Leaders from fifty countries will be here this week, staying in these pavilions. They are lions studying our every move for signs of weakness. If we communize, if we dither about expenses in any way we look like the wounded gazelle we truly are, begging our foes to alight with our enemies, test our borders, challenge our interests. From there it is a short slide to our severed heads riding on pikes.
Catherine: [ignoring Mary] Truly, Francis, I don’t even know why she’s in this conversation.
Mary: Are all powerful men so insecure?
Francis: A few. Many. Most.
Greer: He’s pleasant enough to look at, but I think Lola prefers a man who doesn’t measure love by the hour.
Narcisse: It’s a sad story. A workforce decimated by the plague, and those who can work are forever making excuses not to. They’re too hungry to work, too sad over the loss of their family and friends. It’s pitiful, really. So many different words to describe simple laziness.
Catherine: There’s a new day coming, and you are on the wrong side. Francis and Mary see the world differently. They are moral. They care about the people, more than they care about money, or power, or men like you.
Catherine: Don’t pretend this is about money. You have all the money you need. You want power. You want revenge. But how could I possibly help you? I’m irrelevant.
Francis: Asking you to know your place is like asking the sun not to shine.
Narcisse: You didn’t come here because your heart bleeds for your starving countrymen. What are you hiding?
Catherine: Oh, perhaps I’m hiding a bleeding heart.
Mary: You have a delicate peace to maintain. That is a King’s work. And I have a mess to clean up, and that is, if you ask your nobles, a woman’s work. But this time, since I got you into this, I don’t mind doing it.
Francis: I was wrong, what I asked of you, the backwards step. You must know I want the same world as you do: a better one. The only way to get it is together. We do greater things when we act as one, when we trust each other as equals. This is not a coronation for a King. It’s for a King and Queen.